I'm pasting selected portions from a few different PDFs into MS Word, and in some cases entire sentences get pasted together as one word without spaces in between (eg: whatImeanistextlikethis). Manually inserting spaces between every single word gets exhausting. Is there any built-in way or a plugin to automatically do such a thing? MS Word obviously knows what words are supposed to be, from its dictionary, so I'm hoping there's a plugin or macro out there that utilizes this to do an intelligent splitting.

Update: I've now tried Ctrl+V, Paste Text Only, Paste Special (Unformatted Text) and Paste Special (Unformatted Unicode Text), with no difference. Pasting into plain old notepad also pastes the words clumped together.

Update2: Here's some relevant links for anyone else looking into splitting words automatically:

  • 1
    Yes, Word does recognize words spelled similar to those stored in it's dictionary, and tries to guess what you mean. In the case you described, I seriously doubt it can differentiate the words within a sentence without spaces. It likely sees it as one big misspelled word. Are the words together in the PDF? If not, you might want to try a different way to paste them into Word. – CharlieRB Apr 7 '14 at 19:27
  • No, the words aren't together in the PDF, but come out together when copied and pasted. Could you give me an example of a different way to paste them? – sundar Apr 8 '14 at 6:59
  • You've not shared what method you are using now; context menu, Ctrl+V, menu, text only, merged format, etc. There are many methods to go about it. Tell us what you've tried. And without having the PDF file, I can not try anything to tell you what will work. You might want to post a link to the file if it doesn't contain any private information. – CharlieRB Apr 8 '14 at 11:34
  • I've now tried Ctrl-V, Paste Text Only, Paste Special (Unformatted Text) and Paste Special (Unformatted Unicode Text), no difference. Pasting into plain old notepad also pastes the words clumped together. The PDF cannot be shared though, I'll look into writing a macro myself to do this. (And of course will update with an answer if I do manage it!) – sundar Apr 8 '14 at 12:15
  • I'd suggest using OCR to capture the text from the PDF. It will save you a lot of time and frustration trying to write a macro that will know where to separate the words. – CharlieRB Apr 8 '14 at 12:20

I understand what you're looking for, but honestly I'm in doubt of such a script/plugin/macro based on the complexity of the operation you want... luckily I'm confident there's a simpler solution. I'm not expert on the matter but I'm certain Word is incorrectly interpreting the formatting of the text. I would paste into notepad first, see if the spacing is correct there, then paste THAT into Word.

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    If the process that produced the PDF has done "spacing" by setting the horizontal starting point for each word, then I suspect a copy/paste would not inject spaces. – user181946 Apr 7 '14 at 21:30
  • On that note, you might want to try an OCR option then which might do the trick. – Adam Apr 8 '14 at 2:10
  • Pasting into notepad and pasting "Text Only" in Word both result in the same thing, wordsarestillclumpedtogether. – sundar Apr 8 '14 at 12:16

Note: It's been two years since this question was asked, but I also have (had) this problem as of writing

This solution requires Google Chrome (and the built-in PDF plugin)

  1. Open the PDF in Google Chrome (eg. drag and drop the file into Google Chrome)

  2. Highlight the text you want to copy

  3. Copy the text (eg. through context menu)

  4. Paste the clipboard contents into a text editor (in your case Microsoft Word)

  5. Replace all the parentheses (or whatever character is in between the words) with a space

Text copied from PDF: what)I)mean)is)text)like)this
Text with parentheses replaced with spaces: what I mean is text like this

Note that if there are parentheses in the original text (ie. from the PDF), special precautions need to be taken

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